Monday, July 27, 2015

BIGFOOT BLUES

It's my pleasure to introduce author Ricardo Sanchez. He's here answering questions and presenting his book Bigfoot Blues.
Take it away Ricardo.
Hi, my name is Ricardo Sanchez. I’m a comic book and fiction writer (I still have a hard time calling myself a writer. When I think “writer” I tend to think of names like Asimov, Christie and Zelazney.) I’ve worked in comics for a little over a decade now and written for books like Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Resident Evil and Teen Titans Go! I’ve also written kid’s comics. But fiction writing is relatively new for me.

My first novel, Elvis Sightings, just came out in September of last year. It’s about Floyd, a private eye who is also a Lifestyle Elvis – he lives his life the way he thinks Elvis would want him to. He’s got a tip that Elvis is still alive and well, living in a small town in Wyoming. When he gets there, he finds lots of “dead” celebrities, a cold war era government conspiracy, and a group of ex-circus performers in a cold war with the Dutch town founders. And then things get interesting. In the sequel, Bigfoot Blues (which I’m promoting now,) Floyd goes to a small town in Oregon looking for a woman who may have eloped with Bigfoot. Then he gets roped into a search for some missing crypto-taxidermy (creation of critters that never existed, like jackalopes) and is asked by the local PD to help nab a wild mountain lion that might actually be a chupacabra. The novels fall into the cozy mystery category, although that isn’t quite right. They’re mysteries, for sure, complete with a private detective and cases to solve, but they’re also quirky, funny character pieces. I know most writers pick a genre and are known for that type of writing, but I don’t seem to be able to contain myself to any one genre.

How many years have you been writing, what was the catalyst, and what are your long-term goals?
I’ve been writing something since I was seven. Most of it hasn’t been worth reading until recently though. (I went through a Lord of the Rings knock-off kick between the ages of 9 and 11 that was pretty dreadful.) I’ve always just had a compulsion to tell stories. When I was a kid, that sometimes manifested itself as what I will generously call tall tales, but the adults around me would call fibs. Or maybe just lies. I’ve done much better by channeling that energy into writing.
What is your current W. I. P. about?
I wrote two mystery novels in very quick succession, Elvis Sightings and then Bigfoot Blues, the sequel. Start to finish, Bigfoot Blues was completed in less than 8 months. So after tramping around in the world of my Lifestyle Elvis private detective, I wanted to do something different and started work on a story about a zombie. He’s not your typical brain gobbling groaner though. He has thoughts and feelings, just like you and me, but because he’s a zombie, he can’t get things like a social security number. Or a job. Or an apartment. So he gets by as best he can. The name of the book is Odd Jobs for the Undead and that gives you a pretty good insight into his life. Jobs the living can’t or won’t do are just right for him, and things are going well! He’s got a great new gig at a chemical company (although the staff tends to pack a lot of heat) and he has a necrophiliac girlfriend (with a personality that would make pacifists violent.) It’s quite a departure from Elvis Sightings, but it was a nice way to reset the creative impulse so that when I go to work on the third book, a traditional manor mystery in the spirit of an Agatha Christie story, I can approach the character with fresh eyes.
What was your inspiration for this project?
A couple years ago there was a call for submissions for a paranormal romance anthology. I wrote about a blind date that a zombie goes on. It was sort of a joke story. It didn’t get picked up, but I liked the idea a lot and when I finished Bigfoot Blues, I started turning it into a full novel.
If zombies attacked, what would you do, and why?
I’d steal a boat and head to sea. Or maybe just the middle of a big lake. I haven’t seen a zombie movie yet where they could swim. They always sink to the bottom.
If you could be any horror character, or superhero, which would it be and why?
There is a character in the DC Comics Legion of Super Heroes called Matter Eater Lad. His super power is that he can eat anything. Brick walls. Cars. Anything. With no ill effects. His role in a story is usually to eat an escape route. But if I could eat like that, I would go on a food tour of Africa and South America and try every local dish without worrying about dysentery or parasites. I can taste the half cooked pork now…
Are you self-published or traditionally published? Was that always your goal?
I’m quasi-traditionally published. My publisher is a digital one, Carina Press. I went with them over some other companies because I couldn’t remember the last physical book I bought (that wasn’t out of print.) I wanted the experience of having an editor go through the manuscript with me, show me where my prose could be improved and where I might have bad or sloppy writing habits. I will say that my editor, Kerri Buckley, is AMAZING. Absolutely spectacular. She made both of my Elvis Sightings Mystery books so much better than they would have been otherwise. I love working with editors. A lot. That said, I’m interested in self publishing too. With the new book, I may try that route to market.
Where can readers find your work?
Elvis Sightings and Bigfoot Blues are available everywhere digital books are sold, so you can find them at your favorite ebook shop. You can also find a lot of my work, either as a few free chapters or entire projects on Wattpad at http://www.wattpad.com/user/Ricardo-Sanchez
What types of books do you read?
Everything. Although mostly vintage science fiction and crime these days. I actually just finished a male/male romance from a fellow Carina Press writer. Not my usual thing, to be honest, but it was good. But I read a lot of non-fiction to get ideas. There is a book called The Big Necessity (it’s about human waste) that gave me an idea for a novel that I really, really love.
Do you have any advice for novice writers?
I have two pieces of advice for people who want to write. The first one is don’t do it. Unless you have to. I would have a lot more time to do fun things with family and friends if I weren’t writing. It’s hard work and I need a day job too. But the truth is I couldn’t NOT write. So if you feel the same way, that it’s something you must do, then my advice is never give up, listen to feedback openly (especially when someone tells you your work sucks) to see what you can do to improve your work, and never listen to anyone who tells you your work sucks or isn’t publishable. There are lots of famous writers who were told their books would go nowhere, then did. But it happens to not-so-famous writers too. I was told no publisher would ever pick up Elvis Sightings, but I kept knocking on doors until I found someone who loved my book. Although by then I had also started working on a new project just in case I couldn’t find that person.
Tell us about your writing habits.
I’m lazy. I have to force myself to write (even though I love doing it.) So I try to isolate myself from anything that might be a distraction, which could be the cat, games on my computer, the internet, everything. I’ve done my best work on oversees airline flights. But I’ve found that when I turn it into a process, I do better. I start with a pretty extensive outline that I do in a spreadsheet. It makes it easier to cut and paste parts, move them around, and create multiple plot paths. Then I do chapter by chapter bullets and finally, I start typing at least 500 words every day until I get to the end. I also use an application called Scrivener. I don’t think I could have finished a novel without it. It’s quite different from something like MS Word, in that it is a collection of text documents, rather than one document. So I can combine my outline, all my reference material, even images, into one super document, then turn off wifi, and stay in that one app while I write. It’s really an amazing app. I’ve been waiting about two years for it to come to iPad. When it does I think that will become my primary writing platform.
If you could live and write anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I actually love Northern California a lot. It’s a wonderful part of the world. But if not right where I am, I think Barcelona. I’m a night person and everything in Barcelona is open really, really late. So I could get up at noon, have breakfast. Goof off for a few hours, then do some writing and have dinner at 10. And all the food would be awesome.
If you could change anything about your writing journey, what would it be?
Instant fame and fortune. Seriously. I find it much easier to write when I know there is an audience for it. It’s part of the reason I was able to finish my second novel so much more quickly than the first. I knew someone would read it. I find it really difficult to write without knowing whether anyone besides my immediate circle of friends and family will know it exists. This is probably an indicator of some sort of narcissistic personality disorder, but I find audiences very motivating.
What is the one book you would want if it were all you could have?
I’m going to cheat a little and say the complete works of William Shakespeare. I have that book on my shelf. Whenever I need inspiration, I will read one of his lesser-known plays. Not so much because I want to crib from them, but because it is remarkable how even his duds are spectacular works of story telling. I lose myself in his characters and plots and when I’m done, I feel energized and look forward to staring at my word processor.

She eloped with Bigfoot. Or maybe Bigfoot kidnapped her. Either way, I've been hired to uncover the truth behind Cindy Funk's disappearance. Me? I'm Floyd, and I'm a PI living my life as Elvis would have wanted. Not just in sequined jumpsuits. With character.

Cindy's trail leads me to River City, Oregon—aka the Mythical Creature Capital of the World—where I catch Case #2. This one from an eccentric billionaire who's lost a priceless piece of "art." Enter one dead body and I end up deputized to solve Case #3, tracking down a man-eating mountain lion. Or maybe it's a chupacabra. Or just an ordinary murderer. Hard to say.

I've handled my fair share of crazy, but River City's secrets have me spooked. With an influx of tourists arriving for the town's annual Elvis tribute contest—what are the chances?—I've got to save the girl, solve the rich guy's problem and leash that chupacabra before a second body is discovered. It might just be mine.
Read more about Floyd's adventures in Elvis Sightings, available now!

For More Information

Book Excerpt:
It was ten past two on a Wednesday and I was sitting behind my desk in the office I share with Franklin, a chiropractor. His wife had sent me looking for him almost four years ago, but she was such a harridan that once I’d found him, I couldn’t bring myself to turn over his location. He’d let me use his place as an office, rent-free, ever since.

I checked my watch again.

Wanda was flying back to Kresge today. I resented being dragged away from her, even for just an hour, but the man on the phone had insisted. It had been more than a month since my last case, so while Wanda packed, I came into the office to meet Peter Funk. And he was late.

The clock hit 2:15. I was about to leave when a very lost-looking man in his fifties opened the door.

“You must be Floyd,” he said, taking off his well-worn Caterpillar cap. His bald head had the baked look of someone who spent a lot of time under the hot Idaho sun. “Your Elvis outfit kinda gives it away,” he added.

“You’re Mr. Funk?”

He smiled weakly and bobbed his head up and down in the affirmative.
I pointed him to a seat and sat back down at my desk.

“So what can I do for you?” I asked.

Funk looked down at the cap in his hands and worried at a loose thread with his callused fingers.

“I need you to find my daughter,” he said and looked up at me. “You’ve got to help me. I don’t know who else to turn to.”

“I’d be happy to help, Mr. Funk, but with missing children you’re much better off going to the police.”

Funk stood up and slapped his hat against his thigh. A small cloud of dirt erupted from the dull blue denim of his pants.

“Oh, the cops won’t help me. Cindy’s eighteen. They said they can’t go looking for her if she’s just run off,” he said. “Besides…”

“Besides what, Mr. Funk?”

He took his seat again before finally blurting out, “She ran off to elope with Bigfoot.”

I would have laughed if Funk hadn’t looked so worried.

“Bigfoot?” I said. “That’s a nickname?”

“No, sir.”

Funk pulled a postcard out of his jeans pocket and handed it to me.

On one side was a teenage boy holding up a plaster casting of a giant footprint nearly three feet long. Across the bottom it read “River City—The Home of Bigfoot.” I turned it over. The postmark was three weeks ago in River City, Oregon. The note on the card read:

Dear Daddy,
I’ve fallen in love with Bigfoot and we’ve decided to elope. I won’t be coming back to Pocatello. I’ll write again soon.
Cindy

She’d put a little heart in place of the dot above the is in both Bigfoot and Cindy.

River City… The name was familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

“My girl, she’s a willful one she is, but Cindy’s never lied to me. Not once,” Funk said. “If Cindy says she’s eloped with Bigfoot, that’s exactly what she’s done.”

Why did I get all the weirdos? Was it the suit? Or the Lifestyle Elvis thing? Or maybe this was some sort of elaborate practical joke. I let out a low sigh.

A case is a case, I told myself. And this one was just too absurd to be someone shining me on.
***** 

Ricardo Sanchez is a writer, toy buff, and lifelong comic book fan.

Elvis Sightings, the first novel in his Elvis Sightings Mysteries series, was released in September , 2014. Bigfoot Blues, the follow up, was released in May, 2015.

Ricardo has written several books for DC Comics, including Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Teen Titans Go! and Resident Evil among many others. His original project, A Hero’s Death, was a successful Kickstarter released in May, 2015.

In addition to writing, Ricardo is an Emmy award winning video and animation producer. When he’s not writing, Ricardo maintains a vintage toy blog, drives 70's muscle cars, and shops year round for Halloween decorations for his home in California.

You can hang out with me at the following places:
Visit Ricardo Sanchez’s website.
Connect with Ricardo on Facebook and Twitter.
Find out more about Ricardo at Goodreads.



8 comments:

  1. Hi! I've gotta rush off as a student's arriving, but read this with great interest. Thanks for hosting Ricardo today Yolanda. His stories sound great but I couldn't stop looking at that fantastic Big Foot cover. And finishing a book in 8 months! I've gotta try that! Go Carina Press!

    Denise :-)

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  2. Awesome cover for Bigfoot Blues. haha that is a great concept too for the zombie. Plenty of jobs out there humans wouldn't want to do.

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  3. Both of his books sound like they are really funny.

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  4. EBook only or not, you are traditionally published.
    Really cool you've worked on comic books.
    Congratulations, Ricardo!

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  5. This is a great start! Thanks for stopping me at... is such a lovely post. I will be back soon for updates.

    personal statement writing

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  6. Congrats, Ricardo! I am intrigued and I love the cover of Bigfoot Blues~ I love how you pushed through and made it happen~

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  7. I have no idea why that story about the blind date with a zombie didn't get picked up. That's perfect black comedy. LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #8 is awesome BTW

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  8. Thanks everyone for your kind comments, and you Ricardo, for submitting to such an intense interview. I wish you all the best with your writing goals! Bigfoot Blues sounds awesome, and I plan on downloading my copy soon!

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